Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Helping the state is key U-M focus, Coleman tells congressional breakfast

U-M President Mary Sue Coleman told a Washington, D.C., audience Wednesday that the state’s public universities are playing an important role in Michigan’s rejuvenation.

Speaking at the 60th annual U-M Congressional Breakfast, Coleman said U-M is committed to working with Gov. Rick Snyder and the state’s congressional delegation to help make a difference.

  President Mary Sue Coleman addresses nearly 350 attendees at the annual U-M Congressional Breakfast in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Freed Photography)

“We know that our state is facing unprecedented financial challenges that will require shared sacrifices,” said Coleman. “At the same time, strong colleges and universities are critical to our future prosperity. As a university, we are prepared to do our part to advance our great state.”

Coleman noted that on May 3, a bronze statue of former U.S. President Gerald Ford, a U-M alumnus, will be placed in the U.S. Capitol. The statue was sculpted by J. Brett Grill, also a U-M alum.

“Whether as an elected official serving the public, like Gerald Ford, or as an artist working in solitude, like Brett Grill, Michigan alumni make an impact,” Coleman said.

Also addressing the breakfast was Rep. Dave Camp, R-Midland, who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee.

“From the Ways and Means Committee’s perspective, we are focused on one thing — jobs — and, more specifically, how we can get our private sector back on its feet and creating more jobs,” Camp said.

Camp said America needs to take action in a bipartisan way soon if it wants to continue to innovate and compete.

“Comprehensive tax reform, involving both the corporate and individual side, is one of the most fundamental steps we can take to close the gap and put our nation back on a path to prosperity,” said Camp. “It will require the active participation of all members of the House, all members of the Senate, and bold, decisive leadership by the president.”

Other Michigan members of Congress to attend the breakfast were Democratic Sen. Carl Levin, and Reps. Dan Benishek, R-Crystal Falls; Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland; Dale Kildee, D-Flint; Tim Walberg, R-Tipton; Candice Miller, R-Harrison Township; Hansen Clarke, D-Detroit; John Conyers, D-Detroit; and John Dingell, D-Dearborn. Also attending were two U-M alumni serving in Congress from outside the state: Reps. Jon Runyan, R-NJ, and Ted Deutch, D-Fla.

The U-M Congressional Breakfast annually brings together members of Congress and their staffs, U-M alumni in Washington, corporate supporters and university officials. Proceeds from the charity event help support the U-M Club of Greater Washington’s scholarship fund, which provides assistance to four Washington-area students who attend the university. Nearly 350 people attended this year’s event.